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braininsights is dedicated to creating a broad awareness and understanding of the importance of early brain development.
Issue: #9
Brain Awareness Issue!

March 2010


This week is designated as Brain Awareness Week. What a great week to share as much information on brain development as we can to create broader awareness! 

To do my part in spreading this important information I have made this a mega issue of the braininsights newsletter with more Brain Facts and an article about the common misconceptions about brain development.  Also this week, there will be daily posts on my blog on brain topics and a giveaway.  I'm using this week to kick off a daily brain fact on the blog along with providing a family activity idea on the braininsights website each day.  Find out more information about each of these events below.

In the spirit of Brain Awareness Week, I encourage you to share as much of this information as possible.  Post this newsletter, any of the brain facts, or blog posts on your social networking page, include in the information in your organizations newsletter, or simply start a discussion with a friend or coworker.  Together we can all make a difference!

Thank you for your support and Happy Brain Awareness Week!

Deborah McNelis
Owner and Creator of braininsights
Did you know....?

...... Secure attachment for an infant
has been shown to  overcome the effects of prenatal stress!

.... A chaotic environment with persistent noise (television, arguing, etc) can impede optimal brain development.

.......Lead poisoning leads to the most common environmental disease in children and impairs brain growth.

..... Studies show children who are under-nourished are twice as likely as to be receiving special education services and have repeated a grade.

..... Loving and consistent caregiving  leads to a child's ability to delay gratification, problem solve, have empathy for others, and have a secure sense of self

.....Stress results from the real or perceived lack of influence on your environment.

..... Nature is important to the brain. Research shows after a short time in a busy city the brain is less able to hold things in memory and self-control may be reduced.

Tell everyone you know!!
baby crying
Brain Awareness Week gives us the opportunity to dispel brain development myths.
Learn about and share the truth.

Myth: A Child is "spoiled" from responding to their cries and meeting their needs.

Truth:  Meeting a child's needs is the opposite of spoiling. Through repeatedly and consistently meeting a baby's physical and emotional needs, the baby is calmed and feels safe. Over time the baby begins to use these positive experiences and learns about how to regulate some of their own emotions. Healthy emotional development and the basis for relationships later in life occurs through having the cycle of needs expressed and met throughout the first year.
Myth: Infants and Toddlers should be given skim milk to avoid obesity.

Truth: Nature provides all that the brain needs through breast milk. A mother's milk (if she has a healthy diet) includes DHA which is essential to optimal cognitive and visual function. It is important when using infant formula to ensure it is fortified with DHA. When a toddler is transitioned to cow's milk, whole milk is best. While cow's milk does not have DHA the brain still benefits most from the essential "good" fats that milk provides.
Myth:  Children's brain development is enhanced by watching a DVD or educational television program.

Truth: Children's brains develop connections through interaction with people and real objects. Using several  senses and exploring and having fun interaction with others provides experiences in the way the brain learns best. Sitting and watching a program or DVD is not an interactive activity. Through just watching the brain is missing out on real learning.

Myth: Taking my child to many classes and scheduled activities will make my child smarter.

Truth: While the brain does like to be stimulated and does not like boredom a child does not need or benefit from too many classes. The brain needs unstructured time to explore, to try new things, imagine, build, run freely, and just play. In fact creativity comes from a relaxed state. When children are scheduled and have too much structured time, they miss the chance to learn skills through self directed activities.

Myth: My child will learn best if I use flash cards and provide electronic toys.

Truth: Often the term brain development has become thought to mean pushing young children to learn more at earlier ages. Brain development is actually about the physical growth of the brain.  Using flash cards or electronic types of toys and games is not the optimal way of supporting this growth. Hands-on interaction with real objects provides the brain with much more real information and ideal learning experiences. When children are directed to simply find a "right" answer this removes the wonderful benefits of discovery. 
Providing a large box and many other items around a home can provide much more learning than many of the expensive "educational" toys.

If you are aware of additional articles on this topic that others can benefit from please forward them to me and I will share with braininsights readers! 
If you are a parent or a professional working with children and families, you can get activity ideas on how to easily incorporate loving interactions into a daily routine and learn how it all benefits brain development by visiting for The Brain Development Series.

Your organization or workplace will also benefit from learning more about the brain. To arrange a presentation
that fits your needs, contact Deborah at


Brain Awareness Week
* Starting this week, the Early Childhood Brain Insights Blog will contain a daily brain fact.  Subscribe by email so you don't miss any of this amazing information. 

* Also starting this week, the braininsights website will have a new Family Activity Idea each day.  Check the website often for great ideas to do with the children in your life.

* During Brain Awareness Week Deborah will be presenting to the Cogebic-Ontonagon Great Start Collaboration in Michigan and at the Poverty, Stress and Brain Conference in Eau Claire.  View the entire presentation schedule here and book or attend a presentation today!

* Recent blog posts at Early Childhood Brain Insights include Read Across America and Everyone Needs to Know he Difference Loving A Baby Makes!.  During Brain Awareness Week there were will be a daily blog posting on a brain topic.  Read these posts and more here and sign up to receive new posts delivered directly to your inbox. 

* Last month the BRAIN (Brains Require All Investing Now) Initiative was launched.  This new initiative is designed to spread the incredibly valuable knowledge that.... Early Brain Development is NOT complicated and it makes an impact that affects every one of us through working together. You can find more about the BRAIN initiative here or become become part of the BRAIN initiative by signing up for the BRAIN Newsletter here.  (make sure the BRAIN box is checked)

* Vote for the Early Childhood Brain Insights Blog as a Top Baby Blog. Just click here and you have voted! 
Vote For Us @ Top Baby Blogs
Fun While I'm One Win an braininsights activity packet during Brain Awareness Week

To celebrate Brain Awareness Week, each day a braininsights brain development activity packet will be given away.  At the end of the week the entire Brain Development Series will be given to one lucky winner.

There are six ways to enter the giveaway:
  1. Subscribe to Early Childhood Brain Insights via Email
  2. Leave a comment at the end of the giveaway post with something you found interesting in a ECBI posting
  3. Blog about the giveaway and leave a comment about it on ECBI
  4. Subscribe to this newsletter
  5. Become a fan of Brain Insights Activity Packets on Facebook and leave a comment on ECBI
  6. Follow @braininsights on Twitter and tweet about the giveaway
For more details on how to enter and the contest visit Early Childhood Brain Insights


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25% OFF
Your Entire Order

The Brain Development Series

Use Promo Code: BRAINWEEK
at check out at  

Offer Expires:  March 21, 2010
March 21 - 31, 2010 the BRAINWEEK code will offer a 20% discount